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Airline Credit Card Finder

Enjoy strong rewards on flights.

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There’s an airline credit card out there for every type of traveler. To help you determine which card is right for you, we assembled our top picks.

Our pick for an airline credit card

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn one mile for every eligible dollar you spend on other purchases.
  • Check your first bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Settle into your seat sooner with Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms apply.
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Compare airline credit cards

Many airlines offer cobranded credit cards with airline-specific perks. If you fly with different carriers, you might like a general travel card instead.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at US restaurants and on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on Southwest Airlines and 1x points on all other purchases
$99
Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
50,000 Avios after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus 50,000 Avios after spending $20,000 in the first year
3x Avios on British Airways and 1x Avios on all other purchases
$95
50,000 Avios after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus 50,000 Avios after spending $20,000 in the first year

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Best airline credit cards

Our list starts with a general travel card and is followed by cobranded products for top US airlines. Check out the bottom of the guide for more cards from other airlines.

Best for airline rewards and transferable airline points: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Amex is consistently one of the best options for flight rewards. Though it comes with a $550 annual fee, you’ll earn stellar points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (see rates & fees).

Best for Delta: Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Please note: All information about Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by Finder and this card is no longer available through this site.
This card is tailored to the Delta loyalist. We estimate travel benefits are worth over $2,000 a year. If you want a taste of the Delta high life without paying a premium annual fee, consider the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

Redeem Delta SkyMiles for best value

Best for United: United℠ Explorer Card

The United℠ Explorer Card offers more bang for your buck versus other mid-tier airline cards. Besides United perks — which include two United Club one-time passes each card year — you’ll also get a credit for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application every four years.
Redeem United Airlines miles for best value

Best for American Airlines: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

The premium, $450-a-year American Airlines credit card is arguably less attractive than the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express. But the airline’s $99-a-year product is impressive, offering solid rewards on American Airlines purchases and everyday spending. Plus, you’ll find solid airline-specific perks like preferred boarding.

How to redeem American Airlines miles

Best for Southwest: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

This is the highest-priced Southwest credit card, but you can offset part of the annual fee with the yearly $75 travel credit on most Southwest purchases. You can also find great value from the Upgraded Boarding reimbursements and annual point bonus.
Redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards for the best value

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How we selected our top cards

We looked at a variety of factors consumers might consider when selecting an airline rewards credit card, including the particular airline, earning rates, possible rewards, redemption values and additional perks or benefits associated with traveling. Those cards that stood out above the rest in a particular category, or served a specific niche, were chosen for our list.

What’s changed in 2019

With so many great airline credit cards to choose from, we decided to highlight the respective branded cards this year that provided the right mix of value versus the annual fee. Notable this year is the United℠ Explorer Card, which offers a terrific value versus other mid-tier airline cards.

Membership Rewards vs. Chase Ultimate Rewards

You can transfer points to select airline and hotel partners with Amex’s Membership Rewards and Chase’s Ultimate Rewards.

Amex has an edge in international airline partners, which makes it the favorite in our book. But look at the lists of partners for yourself and see what works for you. Chase lets you transfer points to Southwest and World of Hyatt, two high-value options that Amex doesn’t work with.

For more on earning airline miles, check out our full miles earning guide.

How to choose an airline credit card

    1. Decide if you want a general or cobranded card.
      A general card can be effective if you fly with different airlines. Depending on the provider, you may be able to transfer your points or miles to partner airlines. This gives you a lot of flexibility you wouldn’t get with a cobranded card.

      If you’re loyal to a certain airline, you might like a cobranded card. You probably shouldn’t get the card for its rewards, as you’ll often find stronger points or miles from a general card. But the cobranded product might offer airline-specific perks such as priority boarding, free checked baggage and access to the airline’s lounges. If you’re on the fence, check out our top picks for airline rewards programs.

    2. Think about how much you want to pay.
      Airline credit cards usually fall into three general price points: $0, $99 or $450 a year.A no-annual-fee cobranded card usually offers limited airline perks — for example, savings on inflight purchases. The mid-tier card typically offers a few more benefits, such as priority boarding and checked baggage. The $450-a-year card may offer airport-lounge access, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit or a companion pass.If you can forego airline benefits, you might like a general travel card with no annual fee. You’ll find several options with great rewards.
    3. Apply for the card.
      You’ll need information like your full name, contact details, Social Security number, date of birth, gross annual income and employment information.
  1. Wait for your card.
    Many travel-card providers will give you a decision on your application immediately. If a provider needs to review your application manually, it may take a few days to a few weeks to hear back.
    If you’re approved, look for your card in the mail within seven to 10 days.

Bottom line

If you want to earn flexible points or miles on flights, consider a general travel credit card. If you’re loyal to a certain airline, you might like a cobranded card.

Not sure if an airline card is right for you? Check out our guide to travel credit cards for more options.

Frequently asked questions

Pictures: Getty Images

Disclaimer

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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